Saturday, July 20, 2019

Canadian Anglicans to Continue Same-Sex Ceremonies, Even After Failed Vote

From Christianity Today-

Though the Anglican Church in Canada last week failed to amend its canon to sanction same-sex marriages, in the wake of the narrow vote, dioceses have opted to continue with them anyway.

The amendment, first passed in 2016, required a two-thirds majority vote among lay delegates, clergy, and bishops at two triennial general synods in a row. While it met the threshold among lay and clergy (80.9% and 73.2%) during this year’s synod, the bishops’ vote last Friday fell just short of two-thirds (62.2%).

On Monday, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate of Canada, read a statement to the delegation saying the bishops “are not of one mind” on the issue, but that “we are walking together in a way which leaves room for individual dioceses and jurisdictions of our church to proceed with same-sex marriage,” according to Anglican Planet.

More here-

Historic cathedral in Sioux Falls is getting a facelift

From South Dakota- (Video)

The worship space at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral is being repaired and refurbished for the first time since 1946. The refurbish is part of the cathedral's 130th anniversary celebration.

he cathedral at about 13th Street and Main Avenue in Sioux Falls was built back in 1887. This was after John Astor the 3rd donated $27,000 to have it built to honor his late wife. While the building has held up all these years, Father Ward Simpson said it was beginning to show its age.

"This was a chance for us as a congregation with the energy we've got currently, to step up, bring some more current artwork into the space, tie in to some more local imagery," Father Simpson said. "I love the imagery we've come up with, tying in local plants and the Niobrara Cross, which is important to us as Episcopalians in South Dakota, and we've come up with a whole package that I think is really wonderful." 

More here-

Priest hiking across U.S. reaches Dodge City

From Kansas-

Peter Munson speaks softly and carries a big stick.

The 61-year-old Episcopal priest hiked into Dodge City on Friday, marking a halfway point on a 3,676-mile journey across the United States to raise money for four charities close to his heart. Munson said his momentum is fueled by a call from God.

Locals can meet him Sunday at St. Cornelius Episcopal Church, 200 W. Spruce St., for 10 a.m. 

services, where he will talk the talk about being faithful, helping children and pursuing dreams. There he will also invite anyone to walk the walk with him.

In Munson’s dream, he raises $1 for children with every bend of the knee — 6 million steps in total — that will take him from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

This is now a full-time job for Munson, who has walked eight hours a day, six days a week since March.

More here-

Friday, July 19, 2019

Church Pension Group Beats Benchmarks

From Chief Investment Officer-

The Church Pension Group (CPG) of the Episcopal Church reported that its investment portfolio increased 1.5% to $13.5 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, from $13.3 billion the previous year. Despite the modest gain for the year, the Church reported that the fund has outperformed both its investment goals and benchmark performance over the past three, five, and 10 years.  

The Church reported that the portfolio returned 8.7%, 7.0%, and 10.2% over the past three, five, and 10 years, respectively. This is compared with its investment targets of 6.7%, 6.0%, and 6.3% over the same time periods, and the benchmark performance of 7.9%, 7.0%, and 9.5%, respectively.

The asset allocation of the investment portfolio is 28.6% in global equities, 26.4% in global bonds, 17.1% in private equity, 15.8% in specialized strategies, 9.2% in real estate, 2.7% in private specialty strategies, and 0.2% in cash.

More here-

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Abuse survivors await apology from Anglican Church for physical harm: Bennett

From Canada-

The Anglican Church’s recent apology for doing “spiritual harm” to Indigenous Peoples is a beginning, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said Wednesday, but victims of sexual abuse at the hands of one priest in the 1970s and ’80s continue to wait for an apology for physical harm they endured from a “man of the cloth.”

In an interview, Bennett said several survivors have been clear they want an apology from the church for the legacy of Ralph Rowe, a former priest and Boy Scout leader who abused children during the two decades he spent travelling among remote First Nations communities in northern Ontario.

Bennett and her husband Peter O’Brian –himself a victim of childhood sexual abuse — have spent years trying to raise awareness about the impacts of Rowe’s abuse, its long-lived impacts and in some cases, deadly consequences.

More here-

Anglican church isn't ready to recognize same-sex marriage: bishop

From Canada-

The bishop of Diocese of Niagara says she isn't surprised the Anglican Church of Canada voted against recognizing same-sex marriage. 

Susan Bell says the result of the vote is a "realistic portrayal of where the Anglican Church of Canada is right now."

This past week, national church leaders met for the Anglican church of Canada's triennial general meeting. There they voted against an amendment to its canon law that would recognize same-sex marriage.

But while falling short of a national amendment, the outcome of the meeting also allows each diocese to make its own determination. And, Bell says, the Niagara diocese will continue with its policy of recognizing same-sex marriage.

The overall vote on the canon law amendment came just short of succeeding. 

More here-

Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on Communion in Space

From Guideposts-

For several weeks prior to the scheduled lift-off of Apollo 11 back in July, 1969, the pastor of our church, Dean Woodruff, and I had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing.

We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets.

Dean often speaks at our church, Webster Presbyterian, just outside of Houston, about the many meanings of the communion service.

"One of the principal symbols," Dean says, "is that God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life." Traditionally, these elements are bread and wine–common foods in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

One day while I was at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort, it occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today.

More here-

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Religious persecution of Christians gets belated attention

From UCANews-

A few days before Christmas last year, I was invited to a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to discuss the persecution of Christians around the world. Around the table were the archbishop of Canterbury, a Catholic bishop representing the cardinal archbishop of Westminster, the Coptic archbishop, survivors of persecution from countries such as Pakistan and Iraq, and the chief executives of three religious freedom advocacy organizations.

The day after Christmas — St. Stephen’s Day, when we remember the world’s first Christian martyr — the foreign secretary announced that he was commissioning Anglican Bishop Philip Mounstephen of Truro to lead a review of British foreign policy towards the persecution of Christians. Hunt emphasized that he was concerned that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not responding adequately to the scale of persecution of Christians around the world. While it is vital to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for everyone, and to remember that in many parts of the world Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, adherents of other faiths, and people of no faith face severe persecution in many countries, Christians may be the most persecuted religious group in the world, numerically and in terms of the range of sources of persecution. Hunt expressed concern that political correctness had led to a weak response to this global challenge and he wanted this to change.

More here-

Britain relentlessly becoming land of secularists and atheists

From The Tablet-

A “dramatic decline” in Christian belief and practice, along with a “substantial increase in atheism”, are recorded in the latest findings on religion from the British Social Attitudes survey.

“Over time, there has been a dramatic decline in the proportion of people who identify with Christianity along with a substantial increase in those with no religious affiliation, and a steady increase in those belonging to non-Christian faiths,” the report says.

The percentage identifying as Church of England or Anglican fell from 40 in 1983 through 22 per cent in 2008 to 12 per cent last year. Catholicism, however, fared better, with equivalent percentages falling from 10 to just 9 and then 7 per cent last year. One increase over the period was among non-denominational Christians, up from 3 per cent in 1983 to 10 per cent in 1998 and 13 per cent last year – a higher proportion of the population than Anglicans.

More here-

B.C. bishop relieved after Anglican Church gives dioceses choice to perform LGBT unions Social Sharing

From Canada-

Bishop Logan McMenamie was devastated when the Anglican Church of Canada struck down approval of same-sex marriage, but is relieved the church is now granting individual dioceses the right to perform LGBT unions if they wish.

On Friday, the motion for same-sex marriage did not meet the voting threshold among church bishops, causing upset among the LGBT community and leaders like McMenamie who support inclusive marriage in the church.

In response to the outcry, the Canadian Anglican House of Bishops released a statement Monday announcing what it calls a "local option" that lets dioceses choose to proceed with same-sex marriages "according to their contexts and convictions."

More here-

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Guardian view on atheism: good without God

From The Guardian-

The latest British Social Attitudes survey paints a picture of organised religion’s continued decline; the more organised it tries to be, the faster it slips. The Church of England, which is established in the sense that it has a formal constitutional role, now claims the allegiance of just 1% of people under 24. Even among the over-75s, only a third identify as Anglican. More than half of British people now say that they have no religion; about two-fifths are Christians of one sort of another; 9% are Muslims.

Across Europe and North America there is a steady rise in the number of “Nones” – people who do not identify with any religion at all. The Pew Global Forum suggests there will be 1.3 billion of them worldwide by 2060, but this figure nonetheless represents a relative decline. The great majority of the present-day Nones are found in east Asia, and especially China, where Christianity and traditional religion are both experiencing phenomenal growth. Meanwhile, demographic growth among Christians and Muslims in the global south suggest that Nones in the world will decline from 16% to 13%.

More here-

The Church of England needs to speak out about Brexit – here’s why

From England-

Central to the Church of England’s understanding of itself as the established church is its vocation to be a “church of the nation” – a public institution ready to bring a theological voice to the national debates of the day. The trauma of Brexit confronts the four nations of the United Kingdom in different ways but – given the centrality to the debate of a resurgent English nationalism – it is most painful for England, which is where the Church of England’s mission is primarily directed.

Since 2016, several individual bishops, some in their capacity as “Lords Spiritual” have sought to contribute to this debate, often with balance and insight. Yet – unlike both the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland – the Church of England has so far been unable to bring any authoritative collective voice to the national conversation.

No debate on Brexit has taken place in General Synod (the Church of England’s governing body), either before or since the 2016 referendum. While the House of Bishops was able in 2015 to produce an unusually substantial statement before the general election – Who is my Neighbour? – it has so far delivered no formal public statement on Brexit at all.

More here-

Anglican Church's vote against same-sex marriage troubling

From Toronto-

News that the Anglican Church had voted against same sex-marriage came as a shock and huge disappointment to many churchgoers over the weekend.

In Toronto, it was particularly confusing, since the Diocese of Toronto has an openly-gay bishop — Kevin Robertson — who’s well liked and highly respected and was married in a same-sex ceremony in St. James Cathedral in the presence of at least two bishops and an archbishop last year.

After a general synod vote approved same-sex marriage in 2016, Archbishop Colin Johnson issued guidelines for priests to perform them.

It was welcomed by churchgoers and priests alike.

Many priests are gay. Some of them have spent a lifetime pretending to be someone other than who they are simply because they’re people of great faith who’ve put their personal lives aside in order to serve God and their church.

More here-

Anglicans in Canada elect Linda Nicholls as first woman primate

From Canada-

Linda Nicholls, bishop of the diocese of Huron, was elected fourteenth primate of the Anglican Church of Canada on July 13, becoming the first woman in the history of the church to hold the position.

“You have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast,” Nicholls said in a brief impromptu speech on her arrival, after the vote at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, where the election was held.

Nicholls will be installed on the final day of General Synod—Tuesday, July 16—succeeding Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who has served the church as primate since 2007.

She was elected on the fourth ballot, with 64.2% of lay votes and 71.1% of votes among the clergy. Jane Alexander, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton, was the only nominee remaining on the fourth ballot. Alexander received 35.8% of laity votes and 28.9% of the votes of the clergy.

More here- 

and here-

Monday, July 15, 2019

"It was a lament": Anglicans in N.S. react to church decision on same-sex marriage

From Nova Scotia-

Many Nova Scotian Anglicans are reacting with dismay and anger to their national church body's decision not to recognize same-sex marriage.

The reaction follows a vote at the church's general meeting in Vancouver on Friday. 
The motion was to change the church's marriage canon to remove references to a union between a man and a woman. This would have effectively rewritten the church's marriage ceremony to include same-sex couples.

"The mood after the vote was very sombre, it was a lament," said Kyle Wagner, the rector of Christ Church in Dartmouth and a delegate to the Anglican Church of Canada's general synod.

"Immediately we heard cries, really wailing. People were so hurt."

The decision falls at the same time as LGBT communities in many parts of Nova Scotia are marking Pride celebrations. 

More here-

L.A. churches declaring themselves sanctuaries for migrant families amid expected ICE raids

From Los Angeles-

Several churches in the Los Angeles area have declared themselves sanctuaries for migrant families.

They condemn potential raids and are welcoming any refugees with open arms. At least a dozen churches in the area are offering sanctuary to immigrants.

"We need to have a way of providing for people who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing when they cannot tend to their families, when people are so desperate they are willing to risk their lives," said Rev. Sunny Kang of the United University Church.

Many church members at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena didn't show up for Sunday services for fear of the raids and possible arrests by ICE agents, according to a member from the congregation's immigration task force.

More here- 

and here-

Texas Episcopal bishops issue joint statement about Border Patrol detention centers

From Texas-

A joint statement signed by eight Texas bishops of six dioceses of the Episcopal Church decries the conditions of detention centers where thousands of migrants are being held.

With Texas accounting for 700 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, residents of the state especially feel the impact of the situation, the statement said.

“We call on our state and national leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets people who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live and work in peace. The situation at the border is, by all accounts, a crisis. Refugees come in desperation; border personnel are under stress,” the statement reads.

The statement quotes Matthew 18:2-6, where Christians are called to love their neighbors as themselves.

They also refer to Leviticus 19:33-34, “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

More here-